HC Deb 22 June 1921 vol 143 cc1360-1
64. Major WHELER

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of horses that have been destroyed owing to the reduction of the military forces in Mesopotamia; whether any mares fit for breeding purposes have been de- stroyed; and what are the steps taken to dispose of the surplus horses before slaughter is decided upon?

Lieut.-Colonel STANLEY

My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. As regards the first part of the question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to my reply yesterday to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Torquay. Only the most inefficient animals have so far been destroyed, and no doubt some mares suitable for breeding were among them, but I have no special information on the subject. During the period from 1st January, 1921, to 31st May last, 1,364 horses, 3,077 mules, and 621 bullocks have been sold at an average price of £30 per head. It is also proposed to hand over to the Civil Government 4,107 dairy cattle and 3,800 horses, the latter being for the use of the Arab army and levies. The Commander-in-Chief is allowed full discretion with regard to the disposal of all animals, subject to the instructions, which have already been issued, that animals are not to be sold to natives unless there is good reason to suppose that they will be properly cared for. As I stated yesterday, however, certain proposals are now being considered by the War Office for the disposal of the surplus animals.


Has the hon. and gallant Gentleman had offers from a big firm to undertake to transport these horses at a reasonable rate to other countries where they could be sold?

Lieut.-Colonel STANLEY

That was answered by my right hon. Friend yesterday in answer to the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Burn).